Review by Mary Beth Hertz, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2013

PlanbookEdu

Pretty basic online planner with a few teacher-friendly bonus features

Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
7–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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Pros: Adding events is easy and standards are pre-loaded, which is an incredible time-saver for teachers.

Cons: Although it tries, it doesn't serve as a true lesson planner or match best practices for teaching.

Bottom Line: Create and organize all your classes and then some on this glorified day planner, but it's not a whole lot better than the paper version.

PlanbookEDU was created to help teachers keep track of the many classes they may teach in a day. This would be helpful specifically for high school teachers who may teach multiple sections of the same class or who may have a schedule that varies from day to day. For instance, a teacher who teaches a section of ninth-grade English could create a "lesson" and add it to their planbook weekly, daily, or whenever they teach the class. Unfortunately, PlanbookEDU doesn't allow for a monthly view with the lesson events, so it's hard to see where events populate on the rest of the calendar without clicking around. It's also hard to know when class periods are taking place; it would be helpful to have a column on the right-hand side to indicate the time of day.

PlanbookEDU also has a collaboration feature with other PlanbookEDU users so that more than one teacher can collaborate on a planbook. This could be helpful for teachers who teach a similar class schedule, or for grade partners in the elementary grades.

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PlanbookEDU is an online tool teachers can use to keep track of classes, lessons, and standards. While setting up their Planbook, teachers can indicate how many periods they have in a day and which standards they would like to use (for instance, Common Core, NETS, or individual State Standards). Once an "event" is created within a period, teachers can add text, attach a file, and search for a standard by number or keyword to attach to the event.

With a free account, you can only have one planbook (to track a single class), but a year-long Premium account allows for multiples. Planbooks are displayed as clickable calendars; click on a week in any month to access that week's planner. As with other calendars (Outlook, Google Calendar, etc.), you can create and schedule recurring events. Its interface also resembles these other Web-based calendars, but it offers the extra ability to add files and link events to standards.

At the heart of all good teaching is good planning. In that sense, PlanbookEDU has the potential to support teachers in organizing their teaching day. However, video tutorials that show how to create a "lesson plan template" are way too specific. Any teacher will attest to the fact that learning never happens that neatly, and best practices indicate that teaching a lesson can no longer be distilled down to a particular number pages in a textbook. But providing that you use your Planbook for more than that, it could help you get a snapshot of the different classes you're teaching and possibly make class time more productive and organized.

The ability to choose pre-loaded standards is a great feature, but it doesn't really fit in with the whole calendar format. Seeing the standard on the planner event doesn't necessarily help a teacher, who may be teaching the same standards for days or weeks at a time. It would be much more useful if the "lesson plan template" were what it says it is, and offered a way for a teacher to see an overview of the lesson by hovering over the class period. This could be attained by creating an actual lesson plan template with an area for skills addressed, materials, instructional approach, or activity. It's hard to justify paying for this when there are so many other free options.

A few annoyances: Uploaded files must be downloaded for viewing, which can be clunky; and what the website calls a "lesson plan" is really just a calendar entry.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

It's not the most exciting site on the block, but it's got a simple, clean interface that doesn't confuse or fluster users.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

It's an online lesson planner for teachers. However, since good planning may lead to better learning, PlanbookEDU has the potential to support learning. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Helpful videos and other tutorials are available as well as a user forum. There is also a Help tab on every page. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Mary Beth Hertz Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jill P. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
East Grand School
Danforth, United States
Great tool for organizing plans on weekly and yearly basis and customizing for your own use.
Let me start by saying this site is intended for teacher use and not as a tool for students to use. For that reason I did not feel I could rate categories above for "Students like it, Students Learned, Engagement, and Pedagogy" because it doesn't really apply. I have been a user of this site for over a year now. I did quite a bit of research of similar sites before choosing this one because of the features included. I started as a free user, but quickly realized the benefits of being a paid user. I am very choosy about the web services I pay for as I cannot afford very many, but I felt this site was very worthwhile for only $25.00 per year. The paid version allows the user to have many additional options. These are only a few of the benefits: the user can attach files to plans, align the lessons to the common core (and keep track of which have been covered), embed his/her planbook on a website, share the plans with anyone (I share them with my principal- they can be shared with other teachers teaching the same subject and level to collaborate with colleagues), print and export the plans to PDF and MS Word files, and many other features. I can also include website links in the plans that save time when I need to connect to them during lessons. There are how-to videos in the help section as well as article that explain all of the different features. The planbook is customizable which is a must for me. If the user has a routine that is followed daily or weekly, the planbook can be set to repeat the information for that period on a per-day/week basis for the entire year. For example, if you have something you do every Monday, you can set up a template for each week and add pertinent information for the particular day. The free features and paid features are compared on the home page of the site. The benefits to students are indirect. I feel that this site enables me to plan my lessons/units much more effortlessly and effectively than a paper version of the same. I can add events throughout the year that affect my planning. I look ahead and plan when and how units fit together. I can put more effort into the quality of my lessons because I can organize them more easily. I can access my planbook anywhere I have internet access with any device I want to use. Now that I have used it for a year, I have exported it to a PDF and can refer to last year’s plans, copy the ones I want to reuse, and improve upon the lessons that did not turn out as I had hoped. Needless to say I like this service and plan on continuing to use it in the future. I appreciate the fact that the producers of the site are open to suggestions for improvement and do make changes they feel will be beneficial to users. They also include a link to their helpful blog of tech tips for teachers.
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